Distances to molecular clouds at high galactic latitudes based on Gaia DR2

Qing-Zeng Yan, Bo Zhang, Ye Xu, Sufen Guo, Jean Pierre MacQuart, Zheng-Hong Tang, Andrew John Walsh

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    38 Citations (Scopus)


    We report the distances of molecular clouds at high Galactic latitudes (|b| > 10°) derived from parallax and G-band extinction (AG) measurements in the second Gaia data release, Gaia DR2. Aided by Bayesian analyses, we determined distances by identifying the breakpoint in the extinction AG toward molecular clouds and using the extinction AG of Gaia stars around molecular clouds to confirm the breakpoint. We used nearby star-forming regions, such as Orion, Taurus, Cepheus, and Perseus, whose distances are well known to examine the reliability of our method. By comparing with previous results, we found that the molecular cloud distances derived from this method are reliable. The systematic error in the distances is approximately 5%. In total, 52 molecular clouds have well-determined distances, most of which are at high Galactic latitudes, and we provide reliable distances for 13 molecular clouds for the first time.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberA6
    Pages (from-to)1-13
    Number of pages13
    JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


    • Dust, extinction
    • ISM: Clouds


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